When I Tried to Wrestle and Debate

When I Tried to Wrestle and Debate

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” Exodus 32:5

When I was in high school, we had a debate team on which my older sister enjoyed tremendous success. I wanted to follow in her footsteps, so I too joined the debate team. I wasn’t nearly as successful as she was for a couple of reasons. First, I was simply terrible at it. Second though, I also wrestled, and that season ran concurrently with the debate season. Wrestling was far more important to me however, and so, every Saturday, I abandoned the debate team for my wrestling team. I set out with the intention of being a good debater but was continually distracted by wrestling. I simply couldn’t do both at the same time.

I’ve done something similar with my faith. In my addiction, I told myself I could follow God and enjoy my chemicals. At one point, I even tried to convince myself that God approved of my chemical use. I couldn’t follow God and drugs though. It was one or the other. If you know my story, you know that I once chose drugs, tearing my life apart. Recovery now, is a daily discipline of putting God above all else. I can’t live for God’s way and Scott’s way.

This is the lesson of today’s passage. In it, Aaron crafted a golden calf in response to his people’s demand for an idol. This was in direct violation of the second commandment, but Aaron didn’t appear to initially recognize his sin. In today’s passage, he built an altar before the golden calf and pronounced that they were going to celebrate a feast to the LORD. Aaron thought they could worship God and the idol, not realizing that it was one or the other. In worshipping the idol, the Israelites rejected God. God however, doesn’t share his throne.

Most of us have been guilty of something similar. We may not worship golden calves, but we try to follow God and something else. As Christians, we claim to live for God’s will, but practically, we live for ourselves. God doesn’t play backup though. We can’t live for God and self. It’s one or the other and self usually wins. We know we should help our struggling neighbor, but we’re awfully busy. We know we should abandon our self-destructive behaviors, but that requires a lot of sacrifice. It’s one way or the other though. We follow God or we follow self. This is a daily choice that we must consciously make, or we just naturally drift towards self. God though, doesn’t share his throne. If we desire to experience the lives for which we were created, we must daily put him above all.

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